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It Is A Family Affair as Pony Hunters Vie For Top Honors at The Pennsylvania National Horse Show

Alexa Lignelli with her little sister Agatha and Rollingwoods Knee Deep, Reserve Champion in the Small Pony Hunter division.  Photo Credit:  Al Cook -
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - October 14, 2017 -  Family Fun Day at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, was evident both in the main show ring and around the concourse as children and their parents enjoyed story hour, crafts, a petting zoo as pony hunters of all sizes and colors vied for championship ribbons.

For little Alexa Lignelli, New York, NY, it truly was Family Fun Day, as, with her whole family watching, she and her ponies Iparty and Rollingwoods Knee Deep were named Pony Hunter Champion and Reserve Champion.  For Iparty it was a repeat win, as she had won the title in 2016.
Alexa Lignelli and Iparty.  Photo Credit:  Al Cook -
"My PapPap and Grandma were here to watch me," said 9-year-old Lignelli.  "I thought I could win again.  I believed!  I have improved in all my lessons, really working on my position, holding my body, and my pace on the ponies.  That was my goal, and I am really happy.  Henry was Reserve and he really deserves it, he is such an amazing pony, and so is Rosie."
"Yesterday we started out a little rough," said Lignelli's trainer Bill Schaub.  "But she is the come-back kid.  We sorted out what we needed to and we just took a deep breath and went for it."

Caroline Signorino and Anisette.  Photo Credit: Al Cook -
Caroline Signorino, 12, from Basking Ridge, NJ, and Anisette, owned by Hannah Hoch, won the Medium Pony Hunter Championship.  The pair won the Handy class on Friday and followed that up with another win in the Stake class on Saturday.
"We are on a bit of a streak right now.  I won at Capital Challenge," said Signorino.  "I have been riding Annie for a year and she is very sweet and very easy to ride.  You can fit in any distance.  She has taught me a whole bunch.  I play field hockey at school, but I love riding more."  
Spellbound, owned by  Stella Wasserman and 15-year-old catch rider Caroline Passarelli, High Falls, NY, took home the Large Pony Hunter Championship, the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, Best Junior Rider on a Pony, and the EMO High Five Award, given to the pony who receives the highest numerical score throughout the Pony Hunter division.  Armando Celayo received the Grooms Award for his care of Spellbound.
Grand Pony Hunter Champion Spellbound and Caroline Passarelli.  Photo Credit: Al Cook -
"This is incredible," said Passarelli.  "The last time I was here was 2014 with my small pony when she was champion.  I can't begin to thank Archie Cox and the Wasserman family for lending me this pony for the weekend.  He is everything you could want in a pony.  Stella Wasserman could not make it here to show him and so I got the opportunity, and he stepped up to the plate like he always does."
Spellbound with Caroline Passarelli,  Photo Credit:  Al Cook -
Junior Hunter Grand Champion was awarded to Augusta Iwasaki, Calabasas, CA,aboard Lyn Pedersen's Small Affair.  Iwasaki, 13, and the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding were presented with  the Ovation Perpetual Trophy for their spectacular performances in the Large Junior Hunter division.  The much-acclaimed pair also won the PNHS High Point Large Junior Hunter Trophy and Iwasaki was named Best Junior Rider on a Horse.
Chris Iwasaki, Liz Reilley and Keri Kampsen, the trainers of Small Affair and Augusta Iwasaki, were presented with the Grand Junior Hunter Trainer Award.  The Grand Junior Hunter Grooms Award went to Jose Espinoza.
Mimi Gochman, Palm Beach, FL, and Evermore, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, were named High Point Small Junior Hunter.  Evermore won this award in 2016 as well.  They were presented with the Huntland Derby Perpetual Trophy.
The Junior Hunter Sportsmanship award was given to Leah Toscano, Chesterfield, NJ.  This award is given to the rider who exhibits the highest degree of exemplary personal conduct with respect to good sportsmanship.
The EMO High Five Award, given to the Junior Hunter who receives the highest numerical score throughout the Junior Hunter division, was awarded to Small Affair, Evermore and Garfield, ridden by Sophie Gochman. Each earned a score of 90 over the course of the competition.
The Claire Mawdsley Scholarship Awards is given to riders in the Junior Hunter divisions who attend traditional "brick and mortar" high schools on a full time basis.  This year the award for the Small Junior Hunter division was given to Emma Wujek, Grosse Point Farms, MI, and Olivia Yukon, Germantown, TN, for the Large Junior Hunter division.
 About the Pennsylvania National HorseShow 

More than 400 qualified Junior and Adult competitors from the U.S. and abroad will vie for more than $500,000 in prize money and eight national championships - including the prestigious Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final, and Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual and Team Championships. "Junior Weekend" will take place October 12-15, followed by "Senior Week," October 16-21 which includes the Open Jumper and FEI competitions. This year's show will again host three internationally sanctioned FEI CSI3* rated jumper classes including the $35,000 Keystone Classic, $40,000 Big Jump, and the $100,000 Prix de Penn National Grand Prix presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, the culminating event which will be held on Saturday evening, October 21 and will feature over 40 top riders from seven countries, including six Olympic veterans.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization, provides support for therapeutic riding and equine rescue programs. The Foundation makes grants exclusively for charitable and educational purposes to acquaint, teach, and train the public in therapeutic equestrian endeavors and to support equine rescue efforts. Proceeds from the show benefit the Foundation. 
The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is a private, charitable fund. It accepts grant proposals for the benefit of charitable, educational, or scientific purposes, exclusively from tax-exempt, charitable organizations. The issues where the Fund focuses its resources reflect Lindsay's personal priorities and values: improving the lives of children with special needs; enabling access opportunities to education; and providing care, compassion, and protection to animals.
Further information, updates, promotions, ticket information and more is available at or by calling 717-770-0222.